|Volume 7, Issue 3 March 2011
One of the most commonly encountered consultations in my office has to do with individuals who have had a new single isolated seizure or those who have a history of well controlled epilepsy who have suddenly had a recurrence. One of the biggest culprits for why seizures may present or recur, includes the possibility that an individual has ingested a medication, whether over the counter or prescribed, that may had increased the risk towards seizures. These may include innocuous pills that one is accustomed to taking for pain relief or it could be illicit. Even some herbal supplements can increase the chance for seizures. This month's column will itemize drugs, both over the counter or prescribed, and/or herbal supplements that may increase the risk for seizures.
There are a lot of other medications that may cause seizures. Prescribed medications and medication groups that are often listed as possibly causing seizures include:
- antidepressants, such as bupropion or tricyclic antidepressants
- neuroleptics, such as phenothiazines or clozapine
- beta lactams
Hormones also may increase seizures. This is particularly true for estrogens.
Cancer medications that may augment the chance for seizures include the following agents:
- interferon alpha
Sometimes drug abuse leads to seizures. Substances that can cause seizures by either taking too much or suddenly stopping it are listed below.
- sedatives and hypnotics, such as:
- GABA hydroxybutyric acid
- combed cocaine
- methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
- mescaline or peyote
- psilocybin (or mushrooms)
Many individuals take over the counter supplements. In certain situations, the following supplements may be possibly associated with seizures:
- energy drinks especially when mixed with alcohol
- gingko biloba
- St. John's Wort
As you can see, there are many different agents that can potentially cause seizures and the lists that I've included in this month's column are not a comprehensive list. When starting a new medication, taking a new over the counter, or perhaps ingesting an herbal supplement, it is important to speak to your nurse or physician with regards to this so that they are aware of what you are taking. It is only by everyone being informed that we can best provide information to you so as to avoid any unnecessary risks.
How can Epilepsy Therapy Project help?
The Epilepsy Therapy Project is involved in the development of new products and devices that are useful to individuals with epilepsy and to get them to market sooner than later. Part of our research is to address what are potential drug interactions and what are other adverse effects that could occur with the use of these novel treatments. It is by research and our understanding of how certain drugs may cause and prevent seizures that we can learn how to prevent seizures and epilepsy in the future.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Upcoming grant cycles, epilepsy-related Hallway Conversations, conferences, symposia, and events include:
Meet ETP in Miami!
April 27-29, 2011
Antiepileptic Drug and Device Trials XI Conference
Turnberry Isle Resort
For almost two decades a group of individuals have been meeting on a biannual basis to discuss ways in which the process of bringing new therapies to patients can be expedited. Participants include individuals from academia, from interested government agencies such as the Food and Drug administration/EMEA and the National Institutes of Health, as well as representatives from the pharmaceutical and device industries. The purpose of these meetings has been the exchange of ideas, discussion of roadblocks to therapeutic development, dialogue about regulatory strategies, and sharing of successful approaches.
AED2 XI Conference is Sponsored by: The Epilepsy Study Consortium in collaboration with the New York University Medical Center, the University of Pennsylvania Epilepsy Center and the Epilepsy Therapy Project
Listen to the latest podcasts in the Hallway Conversations series
Wednesday, 3/23/11 11:30am EST
Guest: Gregory Krauss, MD
Professor of Neurology
Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Johns Hopkins Medical School
Johns Hopkins University
Topic: Perampanel: A New Antiepileptic Drug
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Guest: Steven Lomazow, MD
Author of FDR's Deadly Secret
Topic: Franklin Roosevelt and his epilepsy
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Guest: James McAuley, MD
Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice and Neurology
The Ohio State University
Topic: Antiepileptic drugs from a pharmacist perspective
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